Ron Romanowicz, Author at Pennsylvania Military College - Page 7 of 23
Army in with no goal in mind, but quickly discovered a talent for leading men. The Army agreed, approving his application for Officer Candidate School. Assigned to lead an infantry platoon, he arrived in Vietnam in With 35 years of hindsight, the author concludes that he did just about everything right. As proof he offers the fact that he was the only officer in his company who survived the year, during which the company went through a half-dozen commanders. Callaway maintains that tactical brilliance was not necessarily a requirement for junior officers in Vietnam.
Dash and offensive spirit were positively suicidal. Good lieutenants, among which he numbers himself, took care of their men. That was not necessarily a recipe for popularity. Good officers often forced their men to do things they hated. On search-and-destroy sweeps, for example, he routinely made sure his platoon advanced through the most difficult, overgrown, hilly routes.
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The exhausted men preferred clear areas and trails, but the VC knew that only too well and concentrated their booby traps and ambushes in those areas. Unfortunately, gung-ho superiors often ordered troops onto faster routes, with disastrous consequences. In his narrative Callaway pauses frequently to profile a bad officer and describe the consequences of his blindness. All too often that officer was killed.
Callaway also includes profiles of good officers, including his friends.
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But many of them were killed as well. For a soldier to survive, skill is important but luck is essential. Most of the book describes the nuts and bolts of small-unit actions.
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There are no surprises: The VC are hard to find, but occasionally turn up. Mostly the American GI fights well. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. Thank you for stepping up and answering your country's call.
Rest easy knowing you will never be forgotten. Monahan selected a night defensive perimeter for the company he was leading in an area south of Tan Tru in Long An Province. The location was in a cracked, concrete-hard dry rice paddy.
A river looped around the area and there was dense undergrowth adjacent to the riverbanks. The troops serving under CAPT Monahan were exhausted after being in the field nine out of the last ten days. At about hours, the company began taking sniper fire.
Gray, began calling in an artillery mission on the sniper. Suddenly, a tremendous lightening flash and explosion filled the dark sky. It was revealed the following morning that the blast was the result of three banjo-type Chinese claymore mines that had been tied to a small tree and positioned only seven yards from the night perimeter.